Huskers Installs Tieline Codecs for Remotes
In Jake’s Take this month, he explores the University of Nebraska athletic department’s new studio installation featuring Tieline Gateway and ViA codecs.
Recently the University of Nebraska Athletic Department brought all broadcast related functions in house. Mike Elliott, the Director of Broadcast Operations at University of Nebraska Athletics, took on the daunting task of migrating operations of broadcast operations and distribution to the new studio facilities located at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. He had approximately 30-days to complete the huge project for the main studio that would be the home for the new Husker’s radio network. In this month’s Jake’s take, we will discuss some of the Tieline connectivity that was implemented for real-time redundancy and how Mike is now prepared for the worst-case scenarios. In addition, I will outline his overall connectivity plan.
Let’s first discuss Mike’s vision for real-time redundancy for broadcasting remotely in the field and delivering audio back to the studio. As Mike is no stranger to the issues that come with remote broadcasts, he knew that he wanted to have the best hardware to handle the job. Enter Tieline… the ViA remote field unit, and the Gateway studio codec, both packed full of redundancies including Tieline’s proprietary packet replication protocol, SmartStream PLUS.
As in most Tieline connections, the dialing unit directs the receiving unit with most of the configuration including SmartStream PLUS. On his ViA units, we created multiple programs to dial into his Gateway 8 channel codec keeping his three microphone feeds on separate channels. Each program was configured to use a cellular hotspot connection through Wi-Fi/USB, as well as a secondary stream over an Ethernet connection. This made it extremely simple for his remote talent to operate and dial back into the studio.
Redundancy is a great cure for audio drops, as well as maintaining a connection over an internet connection. But what about hardware failure at the studio end on equipment that runs 24/7 (I.e., network equipment, power delivery systems, encoders, etc.…)? With redundancy in mind, Mike had a secondary Gateway 8 commissioned as a backup/expansion unit. The idea was to leverage this hardware as a backup unit until a day that requires multiple hardware configurations.
In his ViA profiles, we set them up to not only have a SmartStream PLUS connection, but also a backup connection in the event of hardware failure. This way, he could simply monitor for silence on his Wheatnet IP system and switch between the two Gateway units. This allows him to have the confidence and reassurance for his remote sports broadcasts to not only sound good, but stay on the air in the event one of the worst case scenarios presented itself.
Report-IT for Guest Remotes
Let’s talk about guest interviews and last-minute remotes. To get someone on the air at a moments notice, Mike opted in for a subscription to the Report-IT Enterprise package. With his Gateway configured for two separate ViA codecs, this left him with a handful of available channels to use with his Report-IT subscription. We configured his app to dial into one of the two Gateways at a moment’s notice with the user’s iPhone or Android device. This gives him broadcast quality audio for things like guest interviews with coaches, players, etc. He’s now able to run multiple live sporting events, and also have multiple remote interviews with high-quality audio at a moment’s notice. This use case is very common with Tieline customers that employ our equipment to broadcast play-by-play. In addition to being able to take multiple people live at a moment’s notice, the University has the ability to record audio files on Report-IT and later upload using FTP back to the studio. This allows them to simply drop these files into their automation system for playback later.
Finally, a quick overview on the lifesaver for the University during this pandemic. Cloud Codec Controller, Tieline’s Management program, has given Mike the ability to remotely control any one of his Tieline products. For example, the Volleyball broadcasts have recently started at the university and a color commentator broadcasts from home for Covid reasons, while the play-by-play guys are at the arena. Cloud Codec Controller has given Mike the ability to monitor, adjust levels, adjust the mix and maintain quality of the connections while at the main studios in Lincoln. He doesn’t have to walk the talent through additional settings, or configurations. They only have to turn the unit on and connect it to the internet. Everything else with Cloud Codec Controller can be done back on Mike’s laptop at the main studio.
When it came to broadcast remotes, Mike knew it was a no brainer building out his new studios with the latest technology from Tieline. He knew that our gear would bring him not only high-quality audio, but also redundancy, failover capabilities and much more. If you would like to know more about Mike’s story, then feel free to contact me directly at Jacob@tieline.com, or give me a call at our office in Indianapolis.
For information on Tieline codecs visit www.tieline.com.
(Huskers Installs Tieline Codecs, first published September, 2021)